Yesterday was my first exposure to the annual UW Business Plan Competition, held by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business — and it was great to be in the midst of all that entrepreneurial energy.

I was one of nearly 280 judges who were given $1,000 in fictional money to “invest” in at least five of the 37 teams pitching their businesses during the trade-show style investment round at the Bell Harbor Convention Center in Seattle.

That process led to a “Sweet 16” of businesses that will compete in the next round, on May 26. Here’s the list, along with alternates. Lots of interesting businesses here, with many intersections with technology.

AgComm, UW Bothell, UW: Offers an affordable solution of hardware, software and services that help farmers monitor and combat environmental threats to their crops through a single web-based application.

Aqueduct Neurosciences, UW: Developing innovative medical device technology to improve the treatment of hydrocephalus through improved control, feedback, and failure prevention. 

C6 Systems, UW: Developed a novel slow-pyrolysis system that turns woody biomass into charcoal, or biochar, at the site of forestry operations. 

Fluentizer, UW: Windows PC and Android mobile software that helps people learn English at the level of a native speaker. It works like an audio book reader and provides translation for words that you don’t understand.

LodeSpin Labs, UW: Manufactures tracers for Magnetic Particle Imaging, a new medical imaging technology capable of replacing CT and MRI for imaging patients with heart disease and cancer.

Point of Care Technologies, UW: Developed prototype medical devices which interface with Android-based smart phones via Bluetooth.

PotaVida, UW: Provides a low-cost, reusable tool that takes the guesswork out of solar disinfection of water, for use in disaster relief and areas lacking potable water.

Pterofin, UW: Designs and manufactures innovative wind energy devices for residential and commercial use. 

Punchkeeper, Seattle University: A customer loyalty smart phone application that digitally replaces paper punch cards making businesses more competitive while saving consumers money, hassle, and wallet space.

Rolling Stone Medical Ultrasound, UW: Provides radiation-free kidney stone detection and the application of “ultrasound-induced acoustic force” to reposition the stones.

SkyFu, UW: Provide small to medium-sized firms a comfortable and easy to use software platform to manage their Social Media presence and reputation. We are different from the competition in cost, scope and expertise.

Solanux, WSU, University of Idaho: Produces patented potato food ingredients with high amounts of resistant starch (RS) which help lower a person’s glycemic index response, improve insulin levels, and lower fat and cholesterol levels. 

SoothieSuckers, UW: Creates all-natural ice pops infused with herbal remedies for children’s cough and cold. 

Stockbox Grocers, Bainbridge Graduate Institute: A mini grocer tucked inside a reclaimed shipping container, to provide fresh produce and basic staples in urban food deserts.

Tripbox, UW: Makes leisure trip planning simple, smart and enjoyable by providing an easy to use online service that automatically generates an itinerary that optimizes cost, timing, and routes and allows users to further customize their trip.

Urban Canopy, UW: Provides SaaS software that guides customers through design, execution, and maintenance of green building initiatives, including LEED certification.

First Alternate: Feral Motion, Seattle University, UW: Provides the best automated filming experience in the action sports world.

Second Alternate:, UW: The first ski and snowboard value-added online retailer, offering custom graphics on name brand equipment via our ever-expanding, online community design database.

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  • Md. M.Islam Rokon

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  • Asher Bearman

    As a judge yesterday, I thought the competition was pretty strong. For example, I liked (and gave some of my investment dollars) to both of the alternates Feral Motion and RideMyDesign and to others that didn’t make the final 16. Overall, it was a great event and many of the competitors will be significant in this market in the future.

    • Anonymous

      Asher, you’re right, there were definitely lots of viable businesses in there.

      I was surprised how much of my investment “money” I ended up giving to non-technology businesses, such as SoothieSucker and C6 Systems.

      By the way, another judge was Robbie Bach, the former president of Microsoft’s E&D Division. Got a good chance to catch up with him.

  • Anonymous

    Congrats to the PotaVida team!

  • UW Engineering

    C6 made a new splash recently – winning NSF money –

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